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Seymour Hersh: Bush is "Unreachable"
(Gloria R. Lalumia, BuzzFlash Columnist, March 31, 2005)
Seymour Hersh visited New Mexico State University (Las Cruces) on Tuesday, March 29 . . . The first thing on his mind was a chilling assessment of George W. Bush. . . . The President, Hersh sighed. "Bush is as absolutely convinced he's doing the right thing," just as journalists are who think of themselves as white knights think they are doing the right thing. "Even if we have another thousand body bags, it won’t deter him." . . . "This is where he is. He believes he won’t be measured by today, but in 5 or 10 years" in terms of the Mideast. With regard to Iraq, "he thinks it's going well." Iran, according to Hersh's contacts, is "teed up." "This is his mission," he continued. "What does it mean?" . . . And then he delivered the most chilling comments of the evening. "Nothing I write" is likely to influence Bush, he said. "He is unreachable. I can’t reach him. He's got his own world. This is really unusual and frankly, it scares the hell out of me."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 11:12 AM

George W. Bush, the Frightened Man
(Willaim Pitt, Truthout, March 31, 2005)
When I went to New York City this past summer to cover the GOP convention, I remember being awed by the degree of security surrounding Madison Square Garden. . . . I saw the same thing when I went to DC to cover the Inauguration. The capitol was an armed camp, a sea of Bush supporters surrounded by tens of thousands of protesters. . . . Amusingly, the security fences and cops decided not to give those protesters One Big Spot to congregate, and instead spread them out like butter across the entire route. The effect was to make the protests seem much larger than they were - and they were big - while forcing the Bush folk to elbow past them every six feet for the entire length of Pennsylvania Avenue. . . . All those fences. All those guns. All those cops. At first, it seemed like an arguably necessary precaution; these were, after all, the two cities to take the hit on 9/11. But the longer I stayed, the longer I looked around, and the closer I observed the behavior of Bush and his people, I came to a sad conclusion: This security was not about keeping us all safe from terrorists, but was about keeping Bush safe from his own people. The President of the United States is flatly terrified of the citizens he would supposedly lead to some supply-side promised land. He is scared to death of us. . . . Some positive proof of this came down the wires on Tuesday, when a report surfaced about three people who were removed from a supposedly 'public' town hall meeting with Bush. According to the report, the Secret Service hustled them out because their car had a "No Blood for Oil" bumper sticker on it. . . . "They're screening the people who are allowed to come and then they're profiling them in the parking lot," he said. "It's quite extraordinary, and disappointing." . . . It is not terrorism that motivates George, or patriotism, or even profiteering. It is fear, pure and simple: Fear of the truth, fear of the world, fear of any data that collides with his faith-based bubble-encapsuled worldview, and fear most of all of the people he would represent. . . . You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you. Now we know, and the knowledge is deeply and profoundly disturbing.

[COMMENT by Lorenzo: I highly recommend clicking the above link and reading this entire essay, particularly the part with the account of Daniel Ellsberg's surprising statement" "Right now there's at least one Special Forces team under control of the White House operating in this country to take 'extra legal actions'. Now, that sounds to me like a White House-controlled death squad."]
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 10:39 AM

After 15 years of barely living, the near lifeless existence of Terri Schiavo's artificially supported life is about to end. And she will be put to rest and to peace. Yet, the so-called Right-to-Life crowd are in a hysterical state and clamoring for unconstitutional governmental intervention, insisting that she be kept in this sad condition even longer. Anyone that doesn't agree is accused being part of the "Culture of Death."

Terri and Michael Schiavo's case is a sad one and there is no possibility for a happy ending. Even with clear instructions in a living will. To go on living with nothing more than a feeding tube is not much of a life. Most people agree that life consists of much more than lying in bed, barely breathing, with a feeding tube inserted to be artificially kept alive. Most of us enjoy a bit more in life: conversation, interests, love, hobbies, reading, music, sports, food, fellowship, career.

Chances are pretty good that many in the "Right to Life" movement are not always shedding tears for the loss of life. Take, for example, the mounting death toll due to the irresponsible lies of Iraq's WMDs. Where is the Culture of Life pronouncement for our soldiers dying overseas based on baseless claims of Iraq's "threat" to us?

Have the pro-lifers put any effort into saving those lives? The 1,500 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and 5,000 seriously injured? Or the 17,000 Iraqi civilians killed and 30,000 seriously injured? The "Culture of Death" seems to be alive and well in our foreign policy. Pro life? 30,000 Iraqi troops killed and 90,000 injured. 70 U.S. civilians killed and hundreds of other coalition troops killed and injured in Iraq.

Many thousands are now dead for what? The nonexistent WMDs of Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Are those dead folks worth anything to the pro-life movement? No more life, no more love, no more music, no more food, no more sports, no more enjoyment or participation in anything. American or Iraqi, soldier or civilian -- all those lives have been irrevocably destroyed -- the people who have been murdered, the people who lost those they love, the people whose homes have been smashed to bits, the people who are maimed for the rest of the only lives they will ever live. These were thousands of people who were full of life, and poof -- all gone -- they have been dealt a very drastic change.

We are all saddened by Terri Schiavo, but will the real pro-life movement please stand up? How much of a Culture of Life do we really have in America today?

(Credit to Harry Browne's "Why I Am Obsessed with War")
. . . Read more!

posted by Hal 9:56 PM

Thieves in the Night
Congress is about to add $87.5 billion in additional spending to our already bloated budget. But why are they in such a hurry? On Wednesday, March 16, the U.S. House will vote on the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief -- H.R. 1268. They're calling this horrendous bill an "Emergency" so they can ignore their spending caps.

Congress could use HR 1268 for spending money on defense, the war in Iraq, tsunami relief, foreign aid to more than a half-dozen nations, peacekeeping interventionism, an embassy in Iraq, an airport in Kuwait, money to help Afghan farmers stop raising poppy, and more -- including yet to be announced pork that will be added during the debate. One bit of pork has already been announced for this emergency wartime bill will also allow the District of Columbia to use taxpayers' funds to build a new baseball stadium.

A partial list of things included in this bill:

- $656 million for tsunami relief
- $94 million for Darfur
- $150 million for food aid; most to Liberia and Sudan
- $580 million for peacekeeping; most for Sudan
- $582 million to build a new American embassy in Iraq
- $76 million to build a new airport in Kuwait
- $257 million for counter drug efforts in Afghanistan
- $372 million for health, reconstruction and alternative development programs to help farmers stop raising poppy
- $200 million in economic aid for the Palestinians
- $150 million for Pakistan
- $200 million for Jordan
- $34 million for Ukraine
- $40 million for FBI personnel in Iraq
- This emergency wartime bill will also allow the District of Columbia to use taxpayers' funds to build a new baseball stadium.
- One can only imagine what will be added during the next several hours of debate when members' pet projects are funded to buy those members' votes.
. . . Read more!

posted by Hal 7:44 PM

The invisible wounded
(Mark Benjamin, Salon.com, March 8, 2005)

In January 2000, then Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Henry Shelton told an audience at Harvard that before committing troops, politicians should make sure a war can pass what he called the "Dover test," so named for the Air Force base in Delaware where fallen soldiers' coffins return. Shelton said politicians must weigh military actions against whether the public is "prepared for the sight of our most precious resource coming home in flag-draped caskets." It's widely known that on the eve of the Iraq invasion in 2003, the Bush administration moved to defy the math and enforced a ban on photographs of the caskets arriving at Dover, or at any other military bases. But few realize that it seems to be pursuing the same strategy with the wounded, who are far more numerous. Since 9/11, the Pentagon's Transportation Command has medevaced 24,772 patients from battlefields, mostly from Iraq. But two years after the invasion of Iraq, images of wounded troops arriving in the United States are almost as hard to find as pictures of caskets from Dover. That's because all the transport is done literally in the dark, and in most cases, photos are banned. Ralph Begleiter, a journalism professor at the University of Delaware and a former CNN world affairs correspondent who has filed a suit to force the Pentagon to release photographs and video of the caskets arriving at Dover, said news images of wounded American soldiers have been "extremely scarce." Wounded soldiers, like caskets, mostly show up in the news only after they arrive back in their hometowns. Begleiter said the Pentagon has tried to minimize public access to images and information that might drain Americans' tolerance for the war. "I think the Pentagon is taking steps to minimize the exposure of the costs of war," said Begleiter. "Of course they are." John Pike, the director of GlobalSecurity.org, a defense information Web site, has spent a great deal of time trying to tease out the difference between facts and Pentagon spin. He said it is odd that the Pentagon hasn't done a good job of explaining the late-night flights. "It is puzzling because there are perfectly sensible explanations for this, but those are not the explanations being offered," Pike said. "And the explanation being offered makes no sense. It makes no sense."

COMMENT******Perhaps the military, as opposed to the Pentagon, would prefer that the numbers NOT be obfuscated and spun. Maybe those who have not yet sacrificed their honor would want the American people to see (and be aware of) the sacrifices they make as American weapons...Perhaps they would want the truth of the dark side of war known - the death and maiming, the life shattering and life affirming, the innocent and the guilty, the wanton waste. For what? Perhaps the ones the politicians sent to kill for them are as tired of this as we are. There is no good that will come of this insanity. But, that's just this old Curmudgeon's opinion*******
. . . Read more!

posted by An Old Curmudgeon 6:48 PM

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